1. Never without my scooter
Without a scooter or other roadworthy vehicle nothing works in Bali. Furthermore, pedestrians are not only looked at with pity, but are even almost not seen gladly. However, Bali is home to crazy, crazy traffic, and even out of rush hour, just a few kilometres of driving will take much longer than expected. When you don’t feel comfortable when thinking of riding your scooter while rush hour, consider Moto-Taxis just like Grab or GoJek – it works the same like Uber but with Scooters.
2. Renting a scooter without driving license
We understand that you do not feel comfortable renting or driving a scooter without a driver‘s license. BUT: Bali is not Switzerland. The winner here is the one who pays. And if the police stop you and ask for your driver‘s license, you just say you don‘t have it with you and pay the penalty.
Insider tip: Always carry two wallets around with you. One is your normal one and the other is the „fake-portemonnaie“, in which you always have about 200‘000 Rupiah (about 14 CHF) with you. When the policemen tell you to pay 500‘000 Rupiah, you simply take out the „fake wallet“ and say that you only have this money (here: 200‘000) with you. They will take the money and let you go again 🙂
3. You´ll sweat like there is no tomorrow
Forget your long jeans, or that heavy jacket; Bali is hot year-round with an average temperature of 32 degrees. Pack cotton fabrics, kaftans and open-toe shoes. You will live in your swimmers and you may even be able to walk down the street without leaving a puddle of sweat. As crazy as it sounds, in our 4 months we only saw rain two!!!! times.
4. Bali is food-haven for veggies and vegans
Bali literally has a restaurant to cater every taste – and that includes vegetarians! In fact, the busy areas of Kuta, Legian and Seminyak are teeming with organic, raw, health, veggie and even vegan restaurants. Even in the most traditional of eateries, you‘ll find chefs happy to alter a dish to make it meat free.
5. Bali-Belly is a real thing
This probably goes without saying, but please don‘t drink the tap water in Bali. We know that constantly buying bottled water may well break your heart, but water from the tap will make you sick – and that‘s the last thing you want on holiday!
6. Respect the culture
Despite the influence of tourism, Balinese culture is very strong, and you can barely take a couple of steps along the street before you encounter ‚canang sari‘ – one of the colourful daily offering made by the Balinese Hindus. While the local dog population may take little notice of them, be aware to take more care and avoid stepping on them or causing other damage.
7. You will feel like a millionaire
The exchange rate means CHF 70 is equivalent to about 1 million Rupiah, so your wallet will be as fat as the local bookmakers. There are money changes everywhere (ask your hotel for a reputable one) and you can get money out at ATMs on your credit card, but be careful and check always if you recieved the amount of cash you asked for.
8. Be aware of the stray dogs
There are a number of shelters and rescue homes on the island, but unfortunately it‘s still a huge problem. None of the dogs that we encountered appeared particularly aggressive but that doesn’t mean we would be happy to go over and pet them all! Exercise common sense, and if you are unfortunate enough to be bitten (even if it doesn’t break the skin) go and see a doctor immediately).
Btw.: Please make sure that you have the right vaccinations and a good insurance.
9. Surfing is HUGE
For decades, Bali has been a huge draw for surfers from all over the world – and for good reason! Even though the waves can get huge and challenging, this doesn’t mean that it’s only for pros. There are several surf schools around Seminyak, Canggu and Kuta, and surf board rental is pretty cheap.
10. Don’t be afraid of bargain
Besides fancy boutiques, restaurants and convenience stores – the first price you’re quoted is rarely the actual price, so don’t be afraid to haggle. We know it can be pretty daunting at first, but local Balinese are used to it and won’t be offended if you give it a go!